Given the rapidly developing COVID-19 pandemic, The Synergist provided early digital access to the cover article for our May 2020 issue. This article discusses, in question-and-answer format, aspects of COVID-19 believed to be relevant to industrial hygienists and the overall health and safety community. Read "COVID-19 and the Industrial Hygienist" now.

As industrial hygienists mobilize to address the most severe public health crisis of our lifetimes, Synergist staff remain committed to sharing practical knowledge, guidance, and perspectives from IH leaders and respected authorities. Synergist coverage of the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is collected below.

Workshop Highlights Respiratory Hazards for "Nontraditional Workers," Public
January 14, 2021

Hazards such as wildland fires, air pollution, and infectious diseases are “growing threats to the respiratory safety of many nontraditional workers and members of the general public,” according to a new publication released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. READ MORE

New CDC Page Focuses on COVID-19 Building Ventilation Strategies
January 7, 2021

A new webpage published by CDC provides information on ventilation interventions for building owners, managers, and health and safety professionals intended to help reduce the concentration and spread of SARS-CoV-2 in their facilities. READ MORE

National Academies Highlights Strategies for Tracking Deaths, Burnout from COVID-19 in Healthcare
December 17, 2020

A new publication from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine presents a potential national framework for tracking COVID-19-related mortality and morbidity data on healthcare workers. READ MORE

NIOSH Study Examines Potential for Source Control of FFRs with an Exhalation Valve

December 10, 2020

Filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) with an exhalation valve can reduce particle emissions to levels “similar to or better than those provided by surgical masks, procedure masks, or cloth face coverings,” NIOSH’s National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory has found. READ MORE

New COVID-19 Information for Healthcare Personnel in Schools, Childcare Settings Published by CDC

December 10, 2020

CDC has published new information and guidance intended to help nurses and other healthcare personnel (HCP) working in schools and childcare settings address the challenges of COVID-19 and prevent the disease’s spread. READ MORE

NIH-Funded Team Releases Online Tool to Help Organizations Plan COVID-19 Testing

December 10, 2020

A team led by the Consortia for Improving Medicine with Innovation and Technology of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and researchers from MIT have developed an online tool, the COVID-19 Testing Impact Calculator, intended to help organizations model the costs and benefits of COVID-19 testing strategies. READ MORE

FDA Issues Policy for Bioburden Reduction Systems Using Dry Heat to Support Reuse of FFRs
December 3, 2020

A new policy from the Food and Drug Administration provides recommendations for bioburden reduction systems that use dry heat to support single-person reuse of certain filtering facepiece respirators, or FFRs. READ MORE

California Becomes Fourth State to Adopt Emergency Standards for COVID-19

December 3, 2020

COVID-19 emergency temporary standards from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) went into effect on Nov. 30. READ MORE

Former OSHA Administrator Joins COVID-19 Advisory Board for Biden-Harris Transition

December 3, 2020

President-Elect Joe Biden announced that David Michaels, PhD, MPH, will join the team assisting the transition in preparing its response to contain the virus that causes COVID-19. READ MORE

CDC Releases Science Agenda for COVID-19

November 24, 2020

CDC’s new “Science Agenda for COVID-19,” intended to guide the agency’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic over the next three years, describes the key areas of scientific inquiry related to COVID-19 that CDC and its partners will pursue. READ MORE

State-Mandated Mitigation Measures Reduce COVID-19 Impacts, CDC Finds

November 24, 2020

State-mandated mitigation measures combined with public health interventions contributed to a significant reduction in COVID-19 incidence, hospitalizations, and mortality in Delaware from late April to June of this year, according to a new report from CDC. READ MORE

NIOSH Approves First Elastomeric Half Mask Respirator Without Exhalation Valve
November 19, 2020

NIOSH has approved the first elastomeric half-mask respirator (EHMR) without an exhalation valve, the agency announced via email on Nov. 16. READ MORE

CDC Recommends Community Use of Multilayered Cloth Masks to Control COVID-19 Spread

November 19, 2020

A new scientific brief published by CDC on Nov. 10 recommends the community use of non-valved multilayer cloth masks to control the spread of COVID-19. READ MORE

OSHA: Cloth Face Coverings Are Not PPE Under Agency Standard

November 19, 2020

OSHA has updated its website to address whether it will consider cloth face coverings to be personal protective equipment following the publication of a scientific brief from CDC that concludes cloth masks provide some personal protection for wearers. READ MORE

OSHA Releases Most Frequently Cited Standards from COVID-19 Inspections
November 12, 2020

New guidance announced by OSHA on Nov. 6 highlights the standards that are cited most frequently during workplace inspections related to COVID-19. READ MORE

CDC: Report Identifies COVID-19 Risks to Healthcare Personnel and Residents in Long-Term Care Settings

November 12, 2020

Healthcare personnel who work in long-term care and congregate living facilities face special risks related to COVID-19, according to a report on healthcare worker infections in Minnesota published by CDC on Oct. 30. READ MORE

OSHA's Respiratory Protection Guidance for Long-Term Care Facilities Emphasizes Source Control
November 5, 2020

New respiratory protection guidance issued on Oct. 30 by OSHA focuses on the use of respirators to help protect workers in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long-term care facilities from occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2. READ MORE

NIOSH Webinar to Focus on Elastomeric Half-Mask Respirator Use in Healthcare, EMS

November 5, 2020

On Nov. 18, NIOSH will host a second webinar related to its request for information regarding the use of elastomeric half-mask respirators in healthcare settings and emergency medical services (EMS) organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE

CDC Updates Definition of COVID-19 "Close Contact"
October 29, 2020

A report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examines a case of COVID-19 that occurred in an employee of a Vermont correctional facility following multiple brief exposures to incarcerated or detained persons with COVID-19. READ MORE

OSHA Addresses Claims That N95s Do Not Protect Against SARS-CoV-2
October 22, 2020

OSHA has updated its website to address incorrect claims that N95 respirators do not capture particles as small as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The agency stresses that N95 respirators are effective at protecting users from coronavirus exposure when used correctly. READ MORE

FDA Will No Longer Authorize Respirators for Emergency Use Under Predetermined Eligibility Criteria

October 22, 2020

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reissued its Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for certain non-NIOSH-approved, Chinese-manufactured filtering facepiece respirators in healthcare settings in the U.S. The reissued EUA, dated Oct. 15, authorizes only those respirators already authorized by FDA and included on its list of authorized respirators—known as Appendix A. READ MORE

New Emergency Rules for COVID-19 in Effect in Michigan

October 22, 2020

New emergency rules issued by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration establish workplace safety requirements for all businesses in the state as well as specific requirements for industries such as manufacturing, construction, retail, healthcare, gyms and fitness centers, and restaurants and bars. READ MORE

CDC: Community Mitigation Efforts Slowed COVID-19 Spread in Arizona
October 15, 2020

Sustained implementation and enforcement of mitigation measures such as mask mandates, enhanced sanitation practices, and business closures were associated with slower spread of COVID-19 in Arizona this summer, according to a report published by CDC. READ MORE

OSHA to Use Discretion When Enforcing Fit-Testing Requirements for PAPRs in Healthcare

October 8, 2020

A new OSHA enforcement memo directs agency compliance safety and health officers to use discretion when enforcing OSHA’s fit-testing requirements for NIOSH-approved, tight-fitting, powered air-purifying respirators, or PAPRs, used for protection against SARS-CoV-2. READ MORE

CDC Acknowledges Airborne Spread of SARS-CoV-2

October 8, 2020

Updated guidance on the CDC website states that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread through exposure to small virus-containing respiratory droplets and particles that can remain suspended in the air over long distances and time periods. READ MORE

EPA Webinar to Focus on Cleaning, Disinfection of Schools

October 8, 2020

EPA will host a webinar on Oct. 13 that addresses best practices for managing the cleaning and disinfection of schools, day cares, and universities during the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency announced in a press release. READ MORE

NIOSH Announces Webinar on Stockpile, Distribution of Elastomeric Half-Mask Respirators

October 8, 2020

On Oct. 13, NIOSH will host a webinar addressing its recently published request for information regarding the use of elastomeric half-mask respirators in healthcare settings and emergency medical services organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE

OSHA Seeks to Clarify Recording, Reporting Requirements for Work-Related Cases of COVID-19
October 1, 2020

A new list of frequently asked questions and accompanying answers published on OSHA’s website is intended to help employers apply existing injury and illness recording and reporting requirements to the coronavirus. READ MORE

CDC Report Analyzes Demographics of Healthcare Workers with COVID-19

October 1, 2020

Healthcare workers who die from COVID-19 are more likely to be older, male, Asian, Black, or have an underlying medical condition than healthcare workers who survive the disease, according to a new report from CDC. READ MORE

OSHA Guidance Addresses Face Coverings in Hot, Humid Conditions
September 24, 2020

New COVID-19 guidance published by OSHA discusses the use of cloth face coverings while working in hot and humid conditions or while performing strenuous activities. READ MORE

NIOSH Seeks Input on Elastomeric Half-Mask Respirator Use in Healthcare, EMS
September 17, 2020

A new request for information issued by NIOSH seeks feedback regarding the use of elastomeric half-mask respirators (EHMRs) in healthcare settings and emergency medical services (EMS) organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency requests input in two areas: first, a national strategy to inform the deployment of EHMRs across the United States from the Strategic National Stockpile, and second, interest in participating in future NIOSH projects involving EHMRs in healthcare and EMS. READ MORE

CDC Fact Sheets Focus on Heat Stress Prevention During COVID-19
September 10, 2020

New fact sheets published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide information for employers and employees on heat stress prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE

NIOSH Forms Team to Provide Occupational Health and Safety Guidance for COVID-19

September 10, 2020

NIOSH has formed a team of subject matter experts from universities across the United States to provide occupational health and safety guidance and technical assistance to employers, workers, and government and public health officials during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE

CDC Publishes Strategies for Limiting Workplace Violence Related to COVID-19 Policies
September 3, 2020

A new CDC webpage provides strategies to limit violence against workers in retail and services who may be threatened or assaulted as businesses implement policies or practices intended to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. READ MORE

New Document Aids Compliance with Respiratory Protection Standard During COVID-19

September 3, 2020

A new document published by OSHA is intended to help employers understand and comply with the agency’s respiratory protection standard during the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE

NIH Establishes "Early Warning" Network for Emerging Diseases

September 3, 2020

A new global network, the Centers for Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases (CREID), is set to study viruses and other pathogens that emerge from wildlife and spill over to cause disease in humans. READ MORE

Temporary Rule Proposed by Oregon OSHA Would Address COVID-19 in All Workplaces
August 27, 2020

Oregon OSHA has proposed a temporary rule that would require employers in the state to implement measures to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID‐19 in all workplaces. READ MORE

ASHRAE Updates Guidance to Mitigate Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 as Buildings Reopen

August 27, 2020

Updates to ASHRAE’s “building readiness” document address guidance for heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems intended to help mitigate the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 as buildings reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE

OSHA and FDA Publish Checklist for Food Manufacturers During COVID-19

August 27, 2020

A checklist developed by OSHA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) contains considerations for FDA-regulated human and animal food manufacturers when continuing, resuming, and re-evaluating operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE

NIOSH to Hold Webinar on COVID-19 Research Partnerships
August 20, 2020

On Wednesday, Sept. 2, NIOSH will host a free webinar on topics related to developing partnerships during a pandemic as part of its 2020 Expanding Research Partnerships Webinar Series. READ MORE

Construction Safety Stand-Down Rescheduled for Mid-September

August 20, 2020

The 2020 National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction has been rescheduled for Sept. 14–18, OSHA recently announced in a press release. The event was postponed earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE

CDC: Plain Language Key for COVID-19 Communication with Workers
August 13, 2020

CDC has published a communication plan intended to help employers in industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, meat and poultry, and seafood processing share messages related to COVID-19 prevention with their employees. READ MORE

Aug. 19 Webinar to Focus on Protecting Building Engineering, Maintenance Staff from COVID-19

August 13, 2020

A webinar on Wednesday, Aug. 19, will focus on protecting building engineering and maintenance staff from COVID-19. AIHA members Corey Boles, PhD, and David Krause, CIH, MSPH, PhD, are scheduled to speak and take questions during the webinar, which is being hosted by the National Academies’ Federal Facilities Council. READ MORE

CDC: Voting in Milwaukee Does Not Appear to Have Increased SARS-CoV-2 Transmission
August 6, 2020

Data suggest that Milwaukee’s April 7 primary election did not lead to an increase in cases of COVID-19 in the city, according to a new report from CDC. READ MORE

National Academies Highlights Strategies for Encouraging Protective Behaviors During Pandemic

August 6, 2020

A new publication from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine presents strategies for encouraging people to adopt health-protective behaviors to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. READ MORE

CDC: COVID-19 Outbreak Occurred at Overnight Camp Despite Preventive Measures

August 6, 2020

A new report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes an outbreak of COVID-19 at an overnight youth camp in Georgia in June. READ MORE

CDC: COVID-19 Can Result in Prolonged Illness, Even for Previously Healthy Young Adults
July 30, 2020

A report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that COVID-19 can result in prolonged illness even among individuals with milder, outpatient illness. CDC stresses that its findings include young adults without underlying chronic medical conditions. READ MORE

New FAQs Address COVID-19 Concerns of Medicolegal Death Investigators

July 30, 2020

New answers to frequently asked questions published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention address concerns that medicolegal death investigators may have while working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Medicolegal death investigators investigate sudden, unexpected, and unnatural deaths, and usually work within offices of medical examiners and coroners. READ MORE

Quick-Reference Resource from CDC Describes Strategies for PPE Shortages
July 23, 2020

A new quick reference table published by CDC is intended to help healthcare facilities optimize their supply of personal protective equipment during shortages. READ MORE

New CDC Site Collects Guidance on Natural Disaster Response During COVID-19

July 23, 2020

CDC has created a new website focused on natural disaster preparedness and response during the COVID-19 pandemic. The site includes guidance on hurricane, earthquake, extreme heat, flooding, wildfire, tornado, and winter weather safety. READ MORE

Virginia Adopts Emergency Workplace Safety Standards for COVID-19 Pandemic
July 16, 2020

The Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board has adopted emergency temporary standards intended to help protect workers in the state from the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID‐19. READ MORE

CDC: Adherence to Face-Covering Policy at Salon "Likely Mitigated Spread of SARS-CoV-2"

July 16, 2020

A new report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that adherence to face-covering policies likely mitigated the spread of SARS-CoV-2 when 139 clients were exposed to two hairstylists with COVID-19 in May. READ MORE

CDC Releases Guidance on SARS-CoV-2 Testing for Non-Healthcare Workplaces

July 16, 2020

On July 3, CDC published a document providing guidance on the appropriate use of SARS-CoV-2 testing in non-healthcare workplaces. The new guidance is intended to assist employers with incorporating testing for SARS-CoV-2 into a pandemic preparedness, response, and control plan. READ MORE

WHO Considers Potential of Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Indoor Settings

July 16, 2020

A scientific brief published by the World Health Organization states that WHO is evaluating whether SARS-CoV-2 may spread through aerosols in indoor settings. READ MORE

NIOSH Definition of "Emergency Response Employees" Includes Firefighters, Funeral Service Practitioners

July 16, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided notice that it has defined “emergency response employees” in a document that includes a list of potentially life-threatening infectious diseases to which these workers may be exposed. READ MORE

CDC: Racial, Ethnic Minorities May Be Disproportionately Affected by COVID-19 in Meat and Poultry Processing
July 9, 2020

A new report published by CDC documenting COVID-19 outbreaks among workers at meat and poultry processing facilities across the United States finds “a disproportionate burden of illness and death” among racial and ethnic minority workers infected by COVID-19. READ MORE

EPA Approves Two Disinfectants Tested Directly Against SARS-CoV-2

July 9, 2020

EPA has approved label claims for two surface disinfectants’ effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 based on laboratory testing conducted directly against the virus. READ MORE

OSHA Guidance Describes Measures to Protect Oil and Gas Workers During the Pandemic

July 9, 2020

New guidance issued by OSHA lists measures that employers can take to help protect oil and gas workers from occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2. READ MORE

Agencies Publish Guidance on Protecting Seafood Processing Workers from COVID-19
July 1, 2020

Guidance issued by OSHA and CDC is intended to help employers in the seafood processing industry protect workers from exposure to SARS-CoV-2 both in onshore facilities and aboard vessels offshore. READ MORE

NIOSH Finds High Prevalence of Risky Behavior in Construction

July 1, 2020

Construction workers are significantly more likely than workers in other industries to exhibit behaviors that contribute to higher health risks, according to a study by NIOSH researchers that appears in the May issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. READ MORE

OSHA Addresses Reopening of Nonessential Businesses
June 25, 2020

New guidance published by OSHA is intended to assist employers who are reopening businesses that were deemed “nonessential” and shut down earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE

NIOSH Highlights Health Hazards Associated with Disinfectants Used Against Viruses

June 25, 2020

A topic page on NIOSH’s website provides information on health hazards and protective measures for employers and workers who use cleaning products and disinfectants identified as effective against viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. READ MORE

NIOSH Publishes Instructions for Preparing Solutions for Qualitative Fit Testing

June 25, 2020

The NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory recently posted on its website instructions to make the OSHA-approved fit test and threshold check solutions for the Saccharin Solution Aerosol Protocol, Bitrex (Denatonium Benzoate) Solution Aerosol Qualitative Fit Test Protocol, and Isoamyl Acetate Protocol. READ MORE

OSHA Highlights Its Current Coronavirus Guidance
June 18, 2020

An OSHA news release published on June 15 summarizes the coronavirus-related guidance currently available from the agency. READ MORE

Agencies Publish Guidance on Agricultural Worker Protection During the Pandemic

June 18, 2020

Guidance from OSHA, CDC, and EPA issued in June includes recommendations and requirements for protecting agricultural workers and employees who handle pesticides during the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE

NIOSH Webinar to Focus on Safe Return to Work During COVID-19

June 18, 2020

An upcoming webinar hosted by the NIOSH Total Worker Health Program will focus on strategies and recommendations for safely returning to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE

OSHA Publishes FAQs About Cloth Face Coverings in the Workplace
June 11, 2020

A new webpage published by OSHA answers frequently asked questions about cloth face coverings in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE

CDC: Quarantine, Distancing Among Actions That Limited COVID-19 Transmission at Basic Training
June 11, 2020

A U.S. Air Force base in Texas significantly limited transmission of COVID-19 among cadets during basic training through nonpharmaceutical interventions such as quarantine and social distancing, according to a report from CDC released June 5. READ MORE

COVID-19 Weekly Roundup: Suit Against OSHA Dismissed, Research on Lockdown Effectiveness, and More
June 11, 2020

Here are the latest news briefings from The Synergist on COVID-19. READ MORE

General Motors' Global Manager for Industrial Hygiene Details Efforts to Refocus Operations During COVID-19
June 6, 2020

Some businesses are already well into their response to COVID-19, with General Motors among them. Eltaneice Bolden, CIH, CHMM, GM’s global manager for industrial hygiene, shared her company’s efforts to refocus operations during the pandemic with AIHce EXP attendees on June 3. READ MORE

COVID-19 Prompts Development of New Training for Essential, Returning Workers
June 6, 2020

The ongoing pandemic has created a need for new training as workers, supervisors, managers, and others navigate workplaces in the time of COVID-19. It has also changed the way that training is traditionally delivered. During Virtual AIHce EXP, Jonathan Rosen, MS, CIH, FAIHA, provided an overview of new training tools intended for workers in industries with the potential for exposure to COVID-19. READ MORE

Industrial Hygienist Discusses Challenges of Reopening Global Supply Chains During COVID-19
June 6, 2020

During Virtual AIHce EXP, Garrett Brown, MPH, CIH, FAIHA, was one of three occupational hygienists who discussed challenges, successes, and considerations related to returning to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. His presentation focused primarily on how to safely reopen global supply chains and supply chain workers’ experience with COVID-19. READ MORE

NIOSH Director: COVID-19 Vaccine Development Moving Quickly, but Hurdles Remain
June 1, 2020

NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard summarized the current state of knowledge regarding the COVID-19 pandemic at AIHce EXP 2020, addressing disease transmission, testing, mitigation strategies, and vaccine development. READ MORE

Agencies Release COVID-19 Guidance for Construction Industry
May 28, 2020
Separate guidance released by CDC and OSHA provides recommendations for protecting workers at construction sites during the COVID-19 pandemic. Construction workers, generally considered essential and therefore not subject to state stay-at-home orders, may nevertheless encounter additional exposure to the disease as other businesses open and communities become more active. READ MORE

CDC Publishes FAQs for Wildland Firefighters Working During the COVID-19 Pandemic
May 28, 2020
A new webpage published by CDC answers eight frequently asked questions related to preventing or limiting the spread of COVID-19 among firefighters working to control fires in wilderness areas. READ MORE

OSHA's Revised Enforcement Policies Address In-Person Inspections, Recordkeeping
May 21, 2020
Two revised policies issued by OSHA address enforcement of the agency’s requirements with respect to coronavirus as states’ economies begin to reopen across the United States. READ MORE

CDC Specifies Health and Safety Actions for Reopening Businesses
May 21, 2020
As jurisdictions across the United States ease pandemic restrictions and workplaces emerge from weeks-long lockdowns, new guidance from CDC provides a “menu” of recommendations for maintaining the health and safety of workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE

NIOSH Issues Alert About Damaged Head Straps on Stockpiled FFRs
May 21, 2020
Users of previously stockpiled NIOSH-approved filtering facepiece respirators should visually inspect each respirator prior to putting it on due to concerns that the head straps and filtering material may have degraded, the agency said in a notice published to its website. READ MORE

NIH Issues Alert on Preventing SARS-CoV-2 Eye Exposures
May 21, 2020
A new health and safety alert from the National Institutes of Health raises awareness about the need to protect workers’ eyes from exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. READ MORE

CDC, OSHA Issue Guidance for Manufacturing Facilities Operating During the Pandemic
May 21, 2020
New guidance published by CDC and OSHA is intended to help employers decrease the spread of COVID-19 in manufacturing facilities. Several factors affect workers’ risk for exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in manufacturing workplaces. READ MORE

COVID-19 Weekly Roundup: OSHA Sued, Research Partnership Formed, and More
May 21, 2020
Here are the latest news briefings from The Synergist on COVID-19. READ MORE

CDC, NIOSH Address Pitfalls of Purchasing Respirators Manufactured Abroad
May 14, 2020
As healthcare facilities in the United States face respirator shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic, some employers and local health departments are seeking to replenish supplies by purchasing respirators manufactured in other countries. But careful vetting is necessary to ensure these respirators are as protective as NIOSH-certified devices, according to new guidance released by CDC. READ MORE

FDA Reissues Emergency Use Authorization for Respirators from China
May 14, 2020
On May 7, the Food and Drug Administration reissued its April 3 Emergency Use Authorization governing the use of non-NIOSH-approved, Chinese-manufactured filtering facepiece respirators for healthcare settings in the U.S. The change revokes authorization for several respirator models previously approved for emergency use. READ MORE

OSHA Highlights Protective Measures for Dental Practitioners During COVID-19 Pandemic
May 14, 2020
A new alert published by OSHA lists measures that employers can take to help protect dental practitioners from occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. READ MORE

CDC Guidance Aids Response Planning for Critical Infrastructure Sectors During COVID-19
May 14, 2020
CDC has released guidance intended to help employers in critical infrastructure sectors continue operations to the greatest extent possible during the global COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE

COVID-19 Weekly Roundup: Essential Worker Fatigue, Fatalities in New York, and More
May 14, 2020
Here are the latest news briefings from The Synergist on COVID-19. READ MORE

CDC Publishes Instructions for Optimizing Disposable Glove Supply
May 7, 2020
With critical medical supplies dwindling, CDC has released instructions intended to help federal, state, and local public health officials and healthcare leaders optimize their stocks of disposable medical gloves during the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE

Large Gatherings, Workplace Spread Contributed to Thousand-Fold Increase in COVID-19 Cases
May 7, 2020
Over a three-week period from late February to early March the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States increased more than one thousand-fold, according to a new report from CDC. READ MORE

NIOSH Is Prioritizing New Respirator Approval Applications
May 7, 2020
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NIOSH has informed respirator manufacturers that the agency’s Respirator Approval Program is prioritizing particulate filtering respirator approval applications submitted by existing approval holders and new domestic respirator manufacturers or applicants. READ MORE

CDC Extends Recommended Isolation Time for Persons with COVID-19 to Ten Days
May 7, 2020
CDC has extended its recommended period of isolation for individuals with COVID-19 from seven to ten days, according to updated guidance released May 3. The change reflects new evidence suggesting a longer period of viral shedding. READ MORE

COVID-19 Weekly Roundup: Disinfection Guidance, PPE Burn Rate, and More
May 7, 2020
Here are the latest news briefings from The Synergist on COVID-19. READ MORE

Executive Order Keeps Meat Processing Facilities Open
April 30, 2020
An executive order signed April 28 by President Trump ensures that meat and poultry processing facilities will remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite outbreaks of disease at several plants across the country. READ MORE

OSHA Issues Enforcement Guidance for Reuse of Decontaminated N95s
April 30, 2020
A temporary enforcement memorandum from federal OSHA outlines conditions under which employers may reuse N95 filtering facepiece respirators that have been decontaminated. READ MORE

COVID-19 Weekly Roundup: Hospital Capacity Estimates, “Immunity Passports,” and More
April 30, 2020
Here are the latest news briefings from The Synergist on COVID-19. READ MORE

CDC Publishes Strategies for Use of Elastomeric Respirators During COVID-19 Pandemic
April 23, 2020
As supplies of N95 respirators run low in healthcare facilities overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, many are turning to other respiratory protection devices. Now, CDC has published strategies facilities can use to conserve elastomeric respirators, which are at least as protective as N95s and, in some cases, have a higher assigned protection factor. READ MORE

OSHA Compliance Officers to Use “Discretion” When Enforcing Standards
April 23, 2020
An April 16 OSHA memorandum to regional administrators advises agency compliance officers to use their discretion when enforcing OSHA standards due to the difficulties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE

Interim Recommendations from CDC Cover Cleaning, Disinfection for Nonemergency Vehicles
April 23, 2020
Interim recommendations published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focus on the cleaning and disinfection of non-emergency transport vehicles, including passenger vans, accessible vans, and cars, following the transport of people who are known or suspected to have COVID-19. READ MORE

COVID-19 Weekly Roundup: Disinfecting Elastomeric Respirators, Reducing Cashiers’ Exposures, and More
April 23, 2020
Here are the latest news briefings from The Synergist on COVID-19. READ MORE

NIOSH Creates “PAPR100” Class of Respirator
April 16, 2020
An interim final rule published by NIOSH April 14 in the Federal Register creates a new class of powered air-purifying respirators (PAPR) that may be better suited to the needs of workers in the healthcare and public safety industries who require protection from COVID-19, according to an agency press release. READ MORE

Labor Department Releases Interim Guidance for Recordkeeping During COVID-19 Pandemic
April 16, 2020
The U.S. Department of Labor has released interim guidance for enforcing OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements relating to cases of COVID-19. Under the new guidance, employers are responsible for recording confirmed cases of COVID-19 contracted under circumstances related to the employees’ work. READ MORE

COVID-19 Webinar: IH Shares Best Practices for Protecting Healthcare Workers
April 16, 2020
A webinar held April 15 by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences featured practical information for minimizing healthcare workers’ exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. Jim Chang, CIH, of the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, discussed ways to isolate COVID-19 patients and minimize contacts between patients and healthcare workers. READ MORE

CDC Permits “Critical” Workers to Continue Working After Exposure to COVID-19
April 16, 2020
Interim guidance issued by CDC on April 9 allows “critical infrastructure workers” to continue to work following potential exposure to COVID-19 as long as they do not exhibit symptoms of the disease and additional precautions are taken to protect them and the community. READ MORE

COVID-19 Weekly Roundup: N95 Decontamination Methods, Elastomeric Respirators Webinar, and More
April 16, 2020
Here are the latest news briefings from The Synergist on COVID-19. READ MORE

OSHA Allows Extended Use and Reuse of Respirators During COVID-19 Crisis
April 9, 2020

OSHA compliance officers may use their discretion to permit the extended use and reuse of respirators during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to interim guidance issued on April 3. READ MORE

NIOSH Study of Stockpiled Respirators May Inform Decisions to Release Expired N95s
April 9, 2020

Faced with a shortage of respiratory protective devices during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States government is considering whether to release N95 filtering facepiece respirators that have exceeded their manufacturer-designated shelf life from some U.S. stockpiles. READ MORE

CDC Recommends Use of Cloth Face Coverings During COVID-19 Pandemic
April 9, 2020

New guidance from CDC recommends that members of the public use cloth face coverings in public settings such as grocery stores where social distancing is difficult to implement. READ MORE

COVID-19 Weekly Roundup: Infection Control FAQ, Guidance on Cleaning and Disinfection, and More
April 9, 2020

News briefings from The Synergist on COVID-19 cover infection control FAQ, guidance on cleaning and disinfection, and more. READ MORE

NIOSH: COVID-19 Among Potentially Life-Threatening Infectious Diseases for Emergency Responders
April 2, 2020

NIOSH has added COVID-19, the disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), to its list of potentially life-threatening infectious diseases to which emergency response employees may be exposed. READ MORE

COVID-19 Weekly Roundup for April 2: Resources for First Responders, Crisis Standards of Care, and More

April 2, 2020

Here are the latest news briefings from The Synergist on COVID-19. READ MORE

Duke Health to Decontaminate N95s with Hydrogen Peroxide Vapor
April 2, 2020

A forthcoming paper in Applied Biosafety describes the efforts of scientists affiliated with the Duke University Health System to validate a method for decontaminating N95 respirators with vaporized hydrogen peroxide. READ MORE

To Protect Workers, Healthcare Facilities Turn to Extended Use, Reuse of N95s
April 2, 2020

As healthcare facilities across the United States adopt practices once considered unthinkable, such as reuse of N95 respirators, to protect workers coping with a surge of COVID-19 patients, occupational health and safety professionals are working to ensure these practices are implemented as safely as possible. READ MORE

Coronavirus Research from JOEH
April 2, 2020

Taylor & Francis, the company that publishes the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene as well as several other scientific journals and ebooks, has launched a website that provides free access to research related to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. READ MORE

COVID-19 Weekly Roundup for March 26: Training Tool, PPE Calculator, and More
March 26, 2020

Here are the latest news briefings on COVID-19 from The Synergist. READ MORE

CDC: Asymptomatic Transmission Contributed to Severity of Cruise Ship Outbreak
March 26, 2020

Nearly half of the passengers and crew on the Diamond Princess cruise ship who tested positive for the new coronavirus did not have symptoms at the time of testing, according to a new report from CDC. The Diamond Princess was the setting of the largest COVID-19 outbreak outside China in the early stages of the pandemic. READ MORE

CDC Releases Return-to-Work Criteria for Healthcare Professionals with COVID-19

March 25, 2020

CDC has released interim guidelines intended to aid state and local occupational health programs and public health officials in making decisions about the return to work of healthcare professionals with known or suspected COVID-19. READ MORE

CDC Investigates COVID-19 Hotspot Centered on Wash. Long-Term Care Facility
March 19, 2020

CDC released the findings of its investigation of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak cluster centered around a residential long-term care facility in King County, Washington state. READ MORE

OSHA Temporarily Adjusts Guidance for Respirator Fit Testing During COVID-19 Outbreak

March 16, 2020

OSHA released temporary guidance on fit testing N95 respirators before their use by healthcare personnel caring for known or suspected COVID-19 patients. READ MORE

OSHA Publishes Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for Coronavirus
March 12, 2020

On March 9, OSHA published a document titled “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19,” a set of recommendations intended to help employers prevent or slow occupational spread of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. READ MORE

CDC Advises Healthcare Facilities to Prepare for Community Transmission of COVID-19
March 5, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released interim guidance for healthcare facilities that recommends preparing for community spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. READ MORE

COVID-19 Outbreak Slows in China, Climbs in Korea, Italy
February 27, 2020

Statistics from the World Health Organization show a decline in mainland China of newly reported cases of COVID-19, but spread of the virus is accelerating in other countries, with 459 new cases outside China. READ MORE

CDC Adds Resources for Healthcare Workers Potentially Exposed to Coronavirus
February 13, 2020

Resources released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer guidance related to respiratory protection for healthcare workers potentially exposed to the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, last December. READ MORE

WHO Declares Public Health Emergency Over Coronavirus Outbreak
January 30, 2020
The World Health Organization’s director-general has declared a public health emergency of international concern over the ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus. READ MORE